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INTERVIEW: Why many Abuja houses can’t be sold – GM IFEDI. AK. Homes

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By Ladi Patrick

Mr. Ajibola Mobolaji is General Manager IFEDI. AK. Homes Nigeria Limited. The company is a real estate firm that has been in existence since 2016 but began operations in 2019. Mobolaji spoke with Viewpoint Housing News in Abuja, suggesting that low income housing should be the target of developers since the high-end market is saturated. According to him, his company is interested in providing guaranteed affordable and quality homes for the low and middle income groups. He expressed concern about developers who construct houses that would not satisfy needs of buyers, saying IFEDI AK Homes is out to change the narratives with 100% assurance. He hopes to take over the real estate industry in five years.

Viewpoint: What specifically is the purpose of IFEDI AK Homes?

Mobolaji: We are a real estate development company that is interested in changing the narrative in the industry. The company is just a year old but we are already developing a five estates of housing in FCT that will be completed within two years.

We have been doing very well in the last one year in bridging the housing gap in Nigeria especially in Abuja and its environs. We also hope to expand to other parts of the country.

Viewpoint: What would you say are your challenges?

Mojibola: One of the challenges in the housing sector is failure of government to play a major role — providing the enabling environment for developers to build affordable housing in order to tackle the housing deficit in the country.

If you look at the Federal Capital Territory, you will discover that most people live in the outskirts of the city because they cannot afford to pay rent in the city centre.

Viewpoint: So far how many housing units have you built?

Mobolaji: Presently, we are building about five estates in Abuja which will be completed within two years from now.

Viewpoint: Where do you hope IFEDI. AK. Homes Nigeria Limited will be five years from now?

Mobolaji: Five years from now, we would like to take over the real estate industry in Abuja and the country at large.

Viewpoint: What would want to change in the real estate industry?

Mobolaji: People have been scammed so a lot of Nigerians are sceptical about investing in real estate but we are here to change the narrative by ensuring that we deliver what we promise to do.

Viewpoint: What do you think can be done to encourage developers to build low income houses?

Mobolaji: They should realize the fact that the market that everybody wants to go into is not there. It is filled up already. There is no point building at that rate. People are not doing that anymore, people just want things that they can afford.

If a civil servant earns N50,000 a month and you want him to rent a house of N750,000, how does he do that? There is no way he can do it with that amount of money he is earning. So we all have to sit down, go back to the drawing board and re-draw the system.

Knowing fully well that if somebody earns N50,000, he shouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of his annual income on a house, it means he has to go back. The amount he earns in a year is N600,000. Thirty percent of it is how much? N200,000. So conveniently, what he can afford to pay for a house in a year should be N200,000, because there are other bills to be paid.

That is the challenge. Everybody has to realize this fact. It is not working anymore because there are so many abandoned houses that cannot be sold because of high cost. That is why we are focusing on low and middle income.

Viewpoint: What is your advice to the Federal Government?

Mobolaji: Like I have said earlier, government should ensure that they provide loans to developers and also make it easy for civil servants to access loans with ease. We realize that the building industry itself still has a lot of flops in Nigeria so in trying to correct some of these problems, we are going to ensure that Nigerians get what they want.

Viewpoint: Talking about low income housing, how affordable are the houses you construct?

Mobolaji: Our houses are very affordable; they are low income houses which both low and middle income earners can afford, although the housing units differ.

In a place like Abuja, because land is premium, we build in blocks of flats. Our products include: New Town Estate, Kuje; Diamond Homes Kubwa; Diamond Homes Estate; Royal Shelter Estate, Apo; Golden Homes, Idu; Royal Shelter Terrace Apartments; Golden Homes Terracae Apartments; and Ifedi Golden Homes Lugbe among others.

They are apartments — an apartment of say 12 units of blocks of flats with three one-bedroom, eight, two-bedroom, and maybe two, three-bedroom — it is called mixed housing. We try to mix those units together so you don’t have any in isolation – they look like single entities.

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